GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Southern Oregon Aspire will close their E-Cycle Center today and their computer store on Nov. 23. The organization said these closures will let them shift more resources to their community employment program.
Southern Oregon Aspire works with more than 160 members of the intellectually and developmentally disabled community. They said this shift is important because about 81 percent of intellectually and developmentally disabled people across the country do not have a job.
"We want to help the people we support pursue jobs that are their passion," interim CEO Sarah Collins. "That's where we really want to focus our efforts. We want to help them achieve those dreams and goals just like we want to achieve our dreams and goals."
People have been dropping of recycled electronics at the E-Cycle Center for about ten years now. Southern Oregon Aspire also used the center to help intellectually and developmentally disabled employees learn to cut, screw and pull these electronics apart.
You can still recycle electronics at Southern Oregon Sanitation at 1381 Redwood Avenue in Grants Pass or Republic Services at 1749 Merlin Road in Grants Pass.
Computer store closing
Southern Oregon Aspire will be closing the Computer Store on November 23. All electronics are 50 percent off.
The computer store's lime green paint is hard to miss. Southern Oregon Aspire said they chose this cheerful color for a particular reason -- to encourage the employees who work here.
Some employees learned how to work on computers. All employees got to practice job skills, such as customer service, time management and organization. Southern Oregon Aspire said the store taught others that intellectually and developmentally disabled people are hardworking employees. The store also helped employees believe in themselves.
"It's very important for them to learn the relevant skills to be able to go with confidence in the job market," said Employment Services Director Bruce Gordon. "They have many abilities and it's important for them to share that with the community."
Becoming a Southern Oregon Aspire business partner
Any business in the Rogue Valley can become one of Southern Oregon Aspire's employee partners. Right now, the organization partners with 25 local businesses to help find members of the intellectually and developmentally disabled community a job.
Businesses will be guided through this process. Southern Oregon Aspire pairs new employees with a job coach to help them grow. This partnership helps businesses, too, by making them more diverse, according to Southern Oregon Aspire. These partnerships also show other businesses that it's very possible to be inclusive.
"Everybody has different abilities," said Employment Services Manager Kimberly Cacho. "Everybody has the ability to contribue in some way."
Businesses can also sign up to be an assessment center. This means people can spend a couple of hours in your store to test out if they like a particular job.
To contact Southern Oregon Aspire about becoming a partner click here.